It’s All Downhill from Here
How and where to go sledding around Boston
Good sledding conditions may be the best side effect of winter snowstorms—there’s nothing like whizzing down a hill, catching air over bumps, and spilling out at the bottom. The trek back uphill is great exercise, too—perfect in case you’ve let the traditional New Year’s resolution slide.
Larz Anderson Park
Newton St., Brookline
This park is said to have the best sledding around, offering both large and small hills. City officials occasionally smooth out bumps in the turf to keep sledders from soaring a little too high. The park also offers an ice skating rink and a snack bar. To get there, take the Green Line C trolley to Cleveland Circle. Change to Bus 51 and get off at the corner of Newton and Lee Streets. From there it’s a five-minute walk. Take a left on Newton Street, then bear left onto Goddard Avenue. The park is on your right.
Summit Ave., Brookline
Outlook Park, just a short T ride from campus, is easy to find, off of Beacon Street. To get there, take the Green Line C trolley to Fairbanks Street. Walk up Lancaster Terrace and then take a right on Summit Path.
The Sugar Bowl
Jamaica Pond, Brookline
This sledding spot is an inverted hill, so the aim is to get enough momentum for the sled to go back up the other side. To get there, take the Orange Line to Green Street and walk toward Jamaica Pond.
Running parallel to Charles Street, this hill is right near the baseball diamond. It’s popular with families and can get crowded on snowy weekends. Take the Green Line inbound to Boylston Street or Park Street.
Davis Square, Somerville
Sledding is allowed on the steep President’s Lawn, and Tufts looks out for your safety by putting haystacks around trees and fences to cushion any crashes. Take the Red Line towards Alewife and get off at Davis. Walk up College Avenue towards the Tufts campus. Head up the stairs and the President’s Lawn is on your left.
A bit north of the Boston area, two tubing parks offer the best sledding conditions around. Nashoba Valley’s snow tubing park in Littleton, Mass., is open until 10 p.m., making for a fun evening outing. A two-hour ticket costs $25. Lifts take you and your tube to the top. A lodge also offers shelter from the cold, with snacks and hot chocolate. Snowmaking makes the trails great no matter the weather. A three-hour pass at Amesbury Sports Park, Amesbury, Mass., costs $22, $30 for the whole day. Both parks offer group rates, so get the dorm floor together to save some money. Driving directions to Nashoba are here. Directions to Amesbury are here.
Sledding enthusiasts will take any path down the hill—whether it’s atop a garbage bag or a cafeteria tray—but you can buy the real deal near the BU campus. City Sports, 1065 Commonwealth Ave., sells sleds and winter gear, and offers a 15 percent off coupon, available here. EMS, 1041 & 1045 Commonwealth Ave., has sleds for as little as $10 and offers a student discount with a Terrier Card.
The best kind of sled is up for debate. Inner tubes are fast and offer a cushion over bumps, but can spin out of control on steeper and slicker hills. Classic wooden toboggans allow several people to ride at the same time, but are heavier and therefore go slower and are more difficult to lug up a hill; they can be upwards of $100. Plastic saucers are the least expensive, but the rider feels every bump, and they’re prone to break.
Sledding can result in serious injuries, so to be safe, keep these safety tips in mind:
Dress in layers—waterproof pants, a warm jacket, mittens, a hat, and a neck warmer—to prevent frostbite.
On the hill, there may be trees, rocks, and exposed areas of grass that can disrupt the sled’s path and make sledding more dangerous. Take a walk up and down the hill before your first sledding run to be sure there are no dangerous obstacles.
Make sure you know how to stop the sled to prevent sliding into a nearby road.
Doctors recommend wearing a helmet while sledding because of the risk of serious head injuries.
Amy Laskowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This updated story originally ran January 16, 2009.5 Comments